For all the bad this season, the Buffalo Bills can look back at the 2013 season and be proud of themselves for one thing: the pass rush.
Mario Williams has been resurgent following a down first year with the team, racking up a team-high 12 sacks, good enough for third in the league behind St.Louis’ Robert Quinn (15) and Indianapolis’ Robert Mathis (16.5). He’s been a dominating presence for the Bills, wreaking havoc all over the place and opening things up for his linemates — something he was supposed to do last year as a huge free agent signing.
The dynamic duo of Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus have combined for 16 sacks, picking up eight apiece. They look like the dominating forces on the inside that many felt we’d all see last year. Granted, they still can’t seem to help solve the run defense crisis, but steps are steps.
Not only that, but they’ve been getting production from several other spots. Manny Lawson has been a decent presence off the edge, picking up four sacks. Jerry Hughes has emerged as a legit pass-rush threat with nine sacks of his own and gives the Bills options at defensive end/outside linebacker depending on how they line up.
The five sacks they picked up last week put them at 49 for the season, putting them just one away from tying the franchise record for sacks in a season of 50 set back in the 14-game season of 1964 (though unofficial since sack stats weren’t kept until 1982).
With a pair of games left against the Dolphins and Patriots, both teams who fall in the bottom half of the league in terms of sacks allowed, the Bills will certainly get there. In all likelihood, the Bills will finish with around 55 sacks or so on the season, a vast improvement from the 36 they racked up a year ago. It will have been their best effort since 1995, when they picked up 49 sacks.